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Joe Biden is asking the US Congress to legislate “without delay” to avoid a potential major rail freight strike, he said in a statement on Monday, as negotiations between social partners on a new branch agreement are in the works. 'impasse.
The president, who calls himself a “proud supporter of the unions”, claims to be “reluctant” to use a legislative force passage, but believes that a freight strike rail “would harm millions of working-class individuals and families.”
“I want to be clear: a complete shutdown of rail would devastate our economy”, assures Joe Biden who wanted the application of a tentative agreement dating from September concluded between the railway companies and the unions, but that the members of the latter had to ratify. However, several of the 12 organizations concerned do not want this agreement, which has long stumbled, in particular on the issue of sick leave.
Failing application by December 9, or even December 5 according to the schedules of the various stakeholders, the world's largest economy could experience a strike likely to shut down nearly 7,000 freight trains, and cost it more than $2 billion a day, according to the American Railroad Association.
Because even if one union were to go on strike, the others would follow suit.
< p>In having to seek the intervention of Congress, the recently octogenarian president suffers a political setback that undermines his renewed momentum after the midterm elections, and as he plans to run for president again in 2024 .
Thanks to a 1926 law giving it powers to prevent a railroad strike, Congress could ram through the preliminary agreement, despite the rejection of some unions.
“We are reluctant to idea of bypassing the ratification process for the tentative agreement, but we must act to prevent a catastrophic nationwide rail strike that would bring our economy to a standstill,” the Democratic leader said in a statement. of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
Joe Biden also asked Congress not to make changes to the preliminary agreement, whether in favor of employees or companies.
“Despite good intentions, any change could lead to delays and an incapacitating shutdown,” said the president, who says the deal was reached “in good faith” by the stakeholders.< /p>
In her press release, Nancy Pelosi announces that the agreement will be voted on a House and sent to the Senate without change.